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  • Writer's pictureNielsen Studios Inc

American Faces #98 - Out of the ashes

I was introduced to Aaron Glanz, American Faces #98, by Kari Lazzarino of the Bearded Viking (she was American Faces #94). While interviewing Aaron I quickly came to the conclusion that he is a living example of what a second chance looks like. As his story unfolds you'll see what I mean.

Aaron told me his early teenage years were like “Leave it to Beaver.” Then in 1997 his best friend died, his parents divorced and his “traditional” life changed dramatically and started to spin out of control. He began using drugs (eventually, Meth) to numb his hurting heart he got into drugs with meth being his drug of choice from 2001 to 2005. His desire for the drugs to give him the dopamine hit he so badly wanted just to feel “good” overtook him. Chemical dependency and a destructive lifestyle of drug use  altered Aaron’s life, from his late teenage years well into adulthood.A drug-using strained marriage with his previous wife and a couple of children in a drug-using home led to charges against him by the law. 

He knew he needed to start to clean up his life so he went to Hazeldin to get clean from the Meth. Alcohol still was a part of the mix but he started to find pride in getting clean. That pride led him to keep getting better day by day. He was continually striving to be a better person. However Aaron stumbled a bit.  He started to go down a road of prepping should the world go crazy. He decided to grow Marijuana, Aaron was in a relationship at the time with a woman who was into mushrooms (not the edible kind) and Aaron decided he needed to get a gun. Well, Aaron’s previous felony, the fact that he got raided by law enforcement for the growing of marijuana as well as a girlfriend who turned him in led to 27 months of jail time.  

  -Continued Below-

Ok now we get to the part where Aaron finally rises out of the ashes of his past.  

As his time in prison was coming to a close Aaron found out about a program where he could go to school and make something of his life. So he set his mind to becoming a machinist through a program at Dunwoody Institute.  He drove hard at school, graduated with honors and began a new life. He met Lee, now his wife of 7 years. Aaron says  Lee is his best friend, his counselor, the one who’s made it possible to become the best version of himself – she’s his everything..

As Aaron continued to rise from the ashes one of the jobs that is a foundational part of his story is RMS where he is at to this day.  Troy Olson, Aaron’s manager, popped in on the interview to say how excited he was for Aaron to have me do his story. I took the opportunity to ask Troy why he gave Aaron a chance. Troy said Aaron earned everything he has done at RMS. Troy never asked Aaron about his past. He knew it was more about where Aaron is going, and his future is bright. And like Troy, Aaron now has the opportunity to lead with the heart of a servant and maybe give someone else a chance to prove themself – maybe someone with a backstory like his.

Aaron’s main photo for this story photo looks very much like a photograph I might create for a machine shop client. But this photo is more than that.  It’s a photo that shows a man with endless possibilities in front of a machine that he did all the research on to expand capacity at RMS  As he looks forward, Aaron now sees a life of promise and fulfillment – it's expressed in his precision machining work, and in the heart he has for the people on his RMS team.

Aaron’s life is full of second chances. He may well be the poster child for what second chances look like. He’s determined to be a difference maker. I encourage you to give someone a second chance. You might just be investing in the next Aaron Glanz

Photos and story by: Nielsen Studios 

Editing by: Scott Whitman

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